Albany, NY – September 22, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — The State’s main housing agencies have been integrated under a single leadership structure to form a new organization well-equipped to respond to the growing need for affordable housing in New York. The new organization, New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), consolidates the state’s myriad housing and community renewal programs, cuts costs, increases efficiency and maximizes New York’s ability to create quality affordable housing and safe, vibrant communities.
Governor Paterson said: “At the beginning of the year I announced the consolidation of numerous state agencies to reduce costs and preserve scarce resources in the face of a $9 billion budget deficit. The merger of the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and nyhomes, will not only save taxpayer dollars, it will increase transparency and efficiencies and strengthen our ability to improve the quality of life from one end of New York to the other. At a time when poverty and homelessness are on the rise across the country, our role in creating homes that people can afford is crucial. I’m confident HCR will serve as a national model for building and preserving affordable homes and improving communities and local economies.”
Brian Lawlor, Commissioner and CEO of HCR said: “Governor Paterson’s directive to integrate the state’s housing agencies and resources under a single leadership structure is good public policy long supported by industry partners and advocates. By aligning all of the state’s housing and community renewal programs and staff, HCR will cost-effectively and efficiently create more opportunities for decent affordable housing and healthy communities. HCR will also adopt new strategies to improve our investments and our accountability. It will strengthen the partnerships that are critical to the success of our programs and cultivate new ones. And it will conduct business in a transparent manner that emphasizes accountability and enhances New York’s national reputation as a leader in the field of affordable housing and community revitalization.”
Programs Aligned Under Three Departments
The new HCR aligns all of the state’s housing programs in a logical way to enhance decision making and ensure that program resources are being coordinated and targeted to maximize resources.
The new alignment takes similar programs that had in the past been administered by the Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HFA), the State of NY Mortgage Agency (SONYMA), the Housing Finance Agency (HFA), the Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC), and DHCR and organizes them into three units led by one manager and a dedicated staff:
- Finance and Development unit will align all programs that fund the development of affordable housing, including Low Income Housing Tax Credit programs, tax exempt and taxable bond finance programs, single family loan and Capital awards programs.
- Housing Preservation will include all the programs that maintain and enhance the state’s portfolio of existing affordable housing. This includes the Office of Rent Administration, the Section 8 program, Asset Management and the Weatherization Assistance Program.
- Community Renewal – will include all the programs geared toward community and economic development, job creation and downtown revitalization, including the NYS Community Development Block Grant Program, NY Main Street program, Affordable Housing Corporation, Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Neighborhood and Rural Preservation programs.
Administrative and support services, including Communications, Legal affairs, Administration, Fair Housing, Policy Development, and Accounting and Treasury will fall within the Office of the President.
The Mortgage Insurance Fund will continue to be administered as an independent office reporting directly to the Commissioner/CEO.
This new model is designed to cut red tape and simplify the delivery of programs, eliminate duplicative efforts and increase accountability and impact.
Industry Leaders, Partners and Staff Integral to Process
Lawlor, who led the integration process, said that input from industry leaders, advocates, and staff was integral to the creation of a new business model for the state’s housing agencies. “Our partners and staff are our best resources and we reached out to them immediately to tap into their expertise and seek their input on best practices as we worked to develop a blueprint for the new agency,” said Lawlor.
Lawlor and senior management conducted 10 roundtable discussions across the state with leaders in the fields of community development and affordable housing to gain a thorough understanding of how programs were working for them, areas that could be improved, and opportunities for aligning and consolidating.
Staff is kept up to date regularly through meetings and email, and all staff members were invited to submit ideas and participate in integration committees to impact policy and administration areas. To date, a dozen committees led by staff facilitators are in place and reviewing all aspects of agency policies and processes. Work is ongoing and more committees are expected to be formed.
Brian Lawlor announced the details of the consolidation and merger today at a meeting with partners and stakeholders.
James Plastiras (518) 473-2526
jplastiras (at) nysdhcr (dot) gov